Places to Raise Young – Creating Your Backyard Habitat
Tree Sparrow Chicks in a nest. Photo courtesy of Fish and Wildlife Service, US government.

A place to raise young is a final feature to finish a backyard habitat. This feature serves many purposes.

  • a safe place to give birth
  • a safe haven to rear offspring
  • nesting sites to incubate eggs
  • den sites to rear babies
  • undisturbed courtship and mating areas

Who May Use Your Backyard Habitat?

To decide what you can provide take note of the animals that visit your habitat or live in your local area. Take note of the resources are already around you. It is just a matter of what fits in best with your habitat.

With the destruction of natural areas, animals have fewer and fewer places to reproduce and rear offspring. We can provide several features to help them out.

Eastern garter snakes frequent my backyard. They like the dark moist areas under tree stumps, stones and other crevices. I know they patrol my garden at night, eating slugs, grasshoppers, and dead animals. One evening I spotted a baby Eastern Garter snake slithering through the grass. They are in my backyard reproducing. They hide underneath rock piles and flat stones. I leave the places they like to den undisturbed.

cabbage white butterfly larva
A cabbage White Butterfly caterpillar munches on a rose leaf in my garden. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Butterflies and moths use plants in my backyard habitat to lay their eggs. Their larva or caterpillar, feed on the leaves. These plants are called butterfly host plants.

Numerous insects, beetles other invertebrate use the fallen leaf litter and soil to lay eggs.

What Places to Raise Young Can I Provide?

Here are some examples of the places you can provide for animals to

Bat houses, bird houses and other structures can be either hand-made or bought ready-made. For you DIY folks, this Building Nest Structures, Feeders, and Photo Blinds (pdf)on building-nest-structures from the North Dakota State Fish and Game Department is extensive. It has structures to build for a variety of animals.

Love to watch the activity in and around your birdhouse? Check out LoveNest (Affiliate link – if you purchase from LoveNest, this blog earns a commission).

barn swallow and nest box
Barn Swallow nest box at John Heinz NWR at Tinicum in Philadelphia. Photo by Donna L. Long.


If you have insects, caterpillars, spiders, etc. in your backyard habitat, you already provide places to raise young, without trying. Keep up the good work. If you add bird feeding, native plants indigenous to your local area, and a water source, you’ll have a backyard or garden bursting with life.

More information on Providing Places to Raise Young

Cavity Nesters: Birds that Use in Holes in Trees

Birdhouses: Choosing, Maintaining, and Attracting the Right Birds

Finding Abandoned Bird Nests

Put Out Nesting Materials and Nest Boxes March 1

Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Pollinators 

We're Listening

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.